Six Steps to Passover: Part 6: The Resurrection: Christ in You

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Part 6: The Resurrection: Christ in You

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Six Steps to Passover: Part 6: The Resurrection: Christ in You

MP4 Video - 720p (569.02 MB)
MP3 Audio (14.79 MB)

This is the sixth part in the Bible study series: Six Steps to Passover. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to the faith and life of a Christian. Paul tells us "if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty...And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14-17).  After three days and three nights in the grave Christ was resurrected on the third day of Unleavened Bread. As we examine ourselves and “keep the feast” let us be sure that Christ is in us. This study will help prepare you to effectively “keep the feast”.



[Darris McNeely] Welcome to the Beyond Today Bible Studies here out of Cincinnati.  Welcome to all of you who are watching online tonight and the many, many more who will be watching via the web in a delayed transmission of this over the coming days.  We are at a point where we are about to wrap up our series on Six Steps to the Passover with our presentation tonight on "The Resurrection: Jesus Christ in You".  So, we are about to begin.  If you would all mind rising, I'll ask God's blessing upon the study and we'll get started tonight.

"Our God in heaven; Father above, we thank You, very much for this opportunity to gather here and to worship You and to study into Your word on a very important topic, one of the core beliefs.  One of the most important of topics in all Scripture.  Help us, Father, to have minds to grasp and understand the depth of what You have accomplished through Christ; what is being worked within us.  And, as we prepare our hearts and our minds for the upcoming Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, the beginning of the Spring Festival Season, Father, guide us to be prepared and to then soberly thinking through all the various steps and aspects of the sacrifice of Christ and His life and now, tonight, His resurrection.  We commit this study into Your hands.  We ask for Your blessing and we ask it all in Christ's name.  Amen"

Please be seated.

We have a lot of material and a lot of ground to cover tonight in this subject.  As I started getting into it I recognize that it's going to be a challenge to get it all in.  We have come to the sixth step that we outlined in this series of studies here toward Passover.  I thought it might be good to recap the first five that have been covered by Mr. Myers, Mr. Petty, and myself in the previous Bible studies.

We began with the first step as Jesus Our Passover and going through those Scriptures that clearly outline Jesus Christ as our Passover. We also had a presentation on Jesus the Second Adam that was step number two.  Step three was Jesus and Reconciliation.  Step four was The Bread and the Wine.  The symbols of Christ's body and His shed blood which we take on the Passover service ever year as an annual occasion.  Step five was The Suffering Servant and we talked about foot washing and covered that from the Old Testament and all the way into the New Testament and its significance as it pertains to the Passover service as Jesus Christ instituted it through that very important quality, that act that we take part in during the Passover service which is an ordinance of humility.

Now tonight, we're going to talk about the resurrection.  And with this sixth step that we've outlined, some have asked, "Why haven't you had seven steps?"  Well, by the time we got around to outlining this we only had six Bible studies coming up to this year's holy day season.  We could have probably gone seven, eight, nine, or ten, and in greater depth and detail but that's kind of how we came to the six.  With that, and perhaps next year, we'll cover a few more, even go deeper into the subject.  But tonight we're going to talk about the resurrection and focus on what is the central event that impacts our Christian journey.  If we look at each of these steps, taking us up to the Passover service, and then what follows from the Passover is obviously the Days of Unleavened Bread.  24 hours after we take the Passover, we are into the first Holy day and this is an appropriate topic, then, to discuss tonight because it is the one that takes us; one step to take as a result of all the other steps that we've outlined here in this series.  This takes us right into the Days of Unleavened Bread and the fullness of the expression of that meaning and the understanding that does come from the Days of Unleavened Bread.

So, understanding what Scripture tells us about the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the keys to developing a transformed relationship and a transforming relationship with God the Father.  And it is essential that we understand that and we trace the story through Scripture and begin to explore that.  So, let's start.

Let's look tonight beginning with a question and let's look at what happened at Christ's death and in the immediate aftermath of that.  So, if you would please, turn over to Mark, Chapter 15, and we will pick this up in Mark's account of the Gospel.

To set the stage I think all of us recognize, as long time members in the church, and certainly in our literature, we have covered this extensively, that Christ was crucified in the midst of the week, on a Wednesday.  He was put into the grave before sundown that day which, in that particular year which He was killed, was the beginning of the First Day of Unleavened Bread.  So, without going into a lot of that background which, in a sense, we've already covered, let's pick it up here in Mark, Chapter 15:42, where it says,

Mark 15:42 "And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath," and this was an annual Sabbath.  It was not the weekly Sabbath. This was the day of preparation before that.

V.43 "Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus."

V.44 "And Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead."

V.45 "And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph."

V.46  "And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre."

V.47 "And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid."

And so he was taken down after the spear had been run through His side and He had died.  This all took place, as it says, before the Sabbath came on as they hurriedly made the preparations to put Him into the tomb at that point.

Chapter 16 continues on:

Mark 16:1  "And when the Sabbath was past," The other Scriptures clearly show the chronology in this as they had a day in between the first Holy day of Unleavened Bread and the weekly Sabbath to prepare the spices and the matters that would anoint Him.  Then, they had to wait for the weekly Sabbath to come to be past.  They, three of them,

"Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him."

V.2 "And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun."

V.3 "And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?"

V.4 "And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great."

V.3 "And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?"

V.4 "And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great."

V.6 "And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him."

V.7 "But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you."

V.8 "And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they anything to any man; for they were afraid."

So Mark's account here takes us to this particular point.  The other synoptic Gospels, and actually all the other Gospels, add more details in and around this.  If you look over in Chapter 24 of Luke, just quickly, a few pages forward, we'll pick this up.  As the news began to spread that the tomb was empty, the rock was rolled away, and Jesus had risen from the dead.

Luke 24:11 "And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not." These women went and they told the Apostles what they had seen and they were dismissed, initially, by them.

V.12 "Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass."

Remember there had been a guard placed at the tomb just to forestall against any attempt to rob the tomb of the body so that the disciples could claim that He has risen.  A Roman guard had been posted in that way but that didn't stop God from resurrecting Christ and we see what took place here. Now He is risen and it is the morning of the first day of the week, the equivalent of our Sunday.  When they come we understand from the chronology and three days and three nights from the time of His death that He would be have been resurrected the previous evening just as the day was ending to fulfill the three days and three nights.  And again, I don't have the time to go into all of that part of the story here tonight.  They waited until early the next morning to go and to do their final preparations of the body, according to the customs.  They had been delayed because of the Sabbath and the Holy day.  Yet it couldn't be done because there was no body.

The other accounts, if you'll turn over to John, Chapter 20. Again we're just stepping through a brief sketch of the events of this time.  Keep in mind we're into the Days of Unleavened Bread.  This is the fourth day of Unleavened Bread that we are into at this point in the story in that particular year.  In John 20:17, we find that Jesus makes an appearance to Mary and she recognizes Him finally and she turned and said to Him in Verse 16:

John 20:16 "Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master."

V.17 "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." "Do not cling to Me."  And She did. 

V.18 "Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her."

But Jesus had forbidden her to touch Him as He said, "I have not yet ascended to My Father."

Go back over to Matthew 28. We find another occurrence with a different outcome

Matthew 28:9 "And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him."

V.10 "Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me."

So here, then, is another instance a little bit later on from what we just read in John 20, where Jesus does allow Himself to be touched.  The obvious conclusion is, if Mary had not been able to touch Him earlier, because He had not yet ascended to the Father, and now they could touch Him, He must have ascended to the Father.  That's exactly what happened. He had been accepted by the Father.  Between that moment mentioned in John and this particular moment at this particular time.  This is a very critical step to understand because, for Christ to have ascended to the Father, to be accepted was a very important fulfillment of a part of the story that goes all the way back into Leviticus, Chapter 23:11 where we find that there was a very special ceremony on a particular day during the Days of Unleavened Bread that is called the "Wave Sheaf Offering" where a priest brought into the temple a sheaf of grain representing the early harvest at that particular time of the year.  As a part of the ceremony it was waved in the ceremony before the altar as a means of sacrifice, part of the sacrificial ritual, to God.  That event signaled the beginning of the early harvest.  From that day, in Leviticus 23:11, begins the count toward Pentecost and where you wind up then 50 days later coming to the Day of Pentecost.  That is how you figure that day.  Again, that is a whole other subject to go into that part of the explanation.  That's what took place with that particular event, the wave sheaf offering.

Leviticus 23:11 "And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it."

What happened?  As we go back to the story of Jesus there in the Gospels?  "I've not yet ascended.  Don't touch me."  They touched Him.  He obviously had been ascended.  What had happened in that interval was that Christ was accepted by the Father.  What we understand is if we look at certain other Scriptures and one in particular, perhaps we can imagine a little bit that taking place.  If you turn over to Hebrews, Chapter 9, we find that, in Hebrews, Chapter 9, as it describes Christ Himself as the High Priest and His role and what was accomplished.  There is an interesting phrase in Verse 11 that we should focus on at this particular point in time to at least understand something because the Wave Sheaf being offered, Christ ascending to the Father, and being accepted to fulfill that particular Old Testament ritual, is a very, very important event.  He had been resurrected after His life and death and suffering. His shed blood, His beaten body as we went through the earlier studies about the bread and the wine, He paid the penalty for our sins.  That was a critical sacrifice as Jesus fulfilled all of those symbols of, not just the Passover service, beginning in Exodus 12, but all the other rituals, offerings, peace offerings, sacrifices, of the entire temple priestly structure that was a part of that Old Covenant and that system there with the Levitical priesthood, with the temple.  All of that was all bundled up in one sense, in that one sacrifice that Christ gave. And as Hebrews shows us, that blood was far more important than all the blood of all the bulls and goats that had been killed down through the generations in connection with the services at the tabernacle.  That blood, that body, that sacrifice was important and it did have to be accepted.  Now in Verse 11 it summarizes and nicely puts it together.

Hebrews 9:11 "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;"

V.12 "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."

I like to imagine that this as the fulfillment, if you will, of what we just read back in the Gospels of Christ ascending to the Father and being accepted as that wave sheaf offering.  That after a time of separation where Christ, we know from the other accounts, Philippians 3, Christ divested Himself of the glory that He had.  In His final prayer, Christ asked for that glory to be returned, "That glory that I once had with You", as He prayed to the Father.  He had divested Himself of that glory; come down as a man; lived as a human; lived the perfect life, and suffered and died.  There had been a time of absence, if you will.  And I use the word time, guardedly, to talk about God and the heavenly realms because God doesn't think of time in the same way as we do.  There is no time at the level of God.  God is outside of time.  Think about it. There had been a separation and now that Passover Lamb had been fulfilled and, as Hebrews tells us, by His own blood, He entered the most holy place once for all. That holy place that He entered was the throne room of God.

We have some interesting descriptions from Revelation, from Ezekiel, that try to paint us a picture of what that scene or that throne and that presence of God might look like with elders and beasts and all that Ezekiel and Revelation gives us.  Christ entered into that and some type of a presence and maybe even a ceremony that was; again, He was accepted as that Lamb into that most holy place, once for all. Through that eternal redemption for mankind now was available.  Then he, if you will, went back and He was able to be touched by His disciples.  It wasn't like He jumped on some express train and zipped to the third heavens and the throne of the Father and then returned with God traveling and the realm of the spirit world, it's quicker than the speed of though even. It's seamless. It just happens, put it that way.  Now Christ was back and, on that day, in one moment, if you will, Christ was accepted in the presence of the Father as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

With that having happened, what happened next? Well let's go back to Mark, Chapter 16 and let's continue tracing the steps of the story here.  We're still on the same day.  The fourth day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Days of Unleavened Bread. 

Mark 16:12 "After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country."

V.13 "And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them."

Interesting little statement Mark puts into it.  Luke gives us a little bit more of the story in Chapter 24 of Luke, Verse 13.  These two were disciples and they were in the country outside of Jerusalem.  This passage tells us:

Luke 24:13 "And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs."

The Road to Emmaus as you may have in your Bible as a sub heading here.  Same day fourth day. After His resurrection.

V.14 "And they talked together of all these things which had happened."

V.15 "And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them."

V.16 "But their eyes were holden that they should not know him."

The story goes along and it is a very interesting story here as to what takes place.  Ultimately, Christ turns in with them and goes into a house and it is as He is breaking bread with them that finally their eyes are opened. And the know Him.  They recognize who He is.  This is after He took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them; which was an interesting connection in and of itself.

V.31 "And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight."

What had happened was Jesus was beginning to entertain or be with His disciples and to explain to them what had taken place.  If you go down to Verse 46, later on He appeared among the others at that time and He began to explain many thing to them. Verse 44 He begins to show what happened.

V.44 "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."

V.45 "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,"

V.46 "And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer," which includes His entire death,  "and to rise from the dead the third day:"

Christ is explaining to them from Scriptures what had happened and how it had fulfilled His death and resurrection; had fulfilled these many Scriptures. All of this was now being opened to them.

This particular story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus later appearing to these others is very instructive because it helps to focus our attention on what happened during the Days of Unleavened Bread in the year which Christ was killed and resurrected.  What was said and even what was taught during the Days of Unleavened Bread in the very year that Christ was killed as He began to explain to them what it all meant.  This was what they were puzzling through and He began to give them instruction.  That instruction continued on for the period of time that Christ was with the disciples before His final ascension.  He told them many; many other things, far more than could even be catalogued by what John says and what took place.  But, this helps us at least to focus on what was being taught. It gives us a bit of an insight into some of the teaching that even Jesus imparted to the disciples.  Keep in mind, to this point at least, we're even still within the Days of Unleavened Bread as they are grappling with the events of His death and now the empty tomb and the fact that they begin to see and recognize that He is alive.  And the other Gospel accounts show how each of the apostles came to see that and understand it, even the "Doubting Thomas" accepted that, indeed, He was their friend.  He was Jesus and now He was alive and a miracle beyond all comprehension had taken place there.

When we go beyond this, back into the Scriptures, we can focus on the teaching of the apostles concerning this event and what they taught about it.  Even the festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread as now their understanding was beginning to be magnified as to what these events meant; what the Holy days really were all about.  As they began to see the fulfillment of these events occurring on these days that they had kept as part of their ritual, their life, even before being called as a disciple, being Jewish but with added understanding now as a result of 3 ½ years with Jesus and now these events beginning to take place, their understanding was beginning to grow.

The early church did expand upon that immensely.   We find the Apostle Paul telling the Gentile Christians at Corinth to keep the Feast. He says, "let us keep the Feast."  He taught them to keep it.  That was the Feast of Unleavened Bread that he was specifically referring to as well. 

When you go into the Book of Acts, which tells a story of the apostles and the church in the early decade, we see that the apostles constantly preached the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They put the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the context of the Festivals; the Festivals that they already knew and observed.  That is very clear to see. I've already quoted Paul's account in 1 Corinthians 5:6, 7, 8, where he tells them to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread, to "keep it with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth".  We could quickly turn there.  You may already be there.  I will read over that. Go to Verse 7

1Corinthians 5:6"Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?"

V.7 "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:"

V.8 "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."

A very key, very critical verse and piece of Paul's instruction where he told the church here to keep these days with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  As we look at what Paul says here, and we even note what the teaching of the apostles was from the Book of Acts, they put this truth of the resurrection within the context of the Holy days, the Festivals.  There is no mention of Easter celebrations.  Nowhere in the picture that is being drawn here, either in the Epistles or the Book of Acts, the early days of the church.  We don't see anything regarding that.  But the resurrection, as described in the Gospels, and in the Bible, was front and center.

If you go back to Acts, Chapter 2, and look at the very first sermon Peter gave on the Day of Pentecost, again a Holy day, and this sermon, a critical sermon and the whole story of the church.  Verse 31 and 32, we can note what Peter said at this one point as he was speaking about what had happened: the resurrection, who Jesus was and what had taken place.

Act 2:31 "He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption."

V.32 "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses."

Here, 50 days afterwards, perhaps a little bit more than 50 days, if you get technical.  But from the time of the wave sheaf, certainly, Peter is explaining the resurrection on the Day of Pentecost. It is a central, core, and here is a Holy day sermon.  Later, when Peter was called before the Jews for healing a lame man we're told in Chapter 4 "beginning in Verse 8 of Acts that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 4:8"Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,"

V.9 "If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;"

V.10 "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole."

V.11"This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner."

Very clear part of the teaching here.

Later in Chapter 17 of Acts, with Paul teaching, he also brings this out. Acts, Chapter 17, in the city of Thessalonica,

Acts 17:2"And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,"

V.3 "Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ."

The point in these Scriptures that I bring out here is that the church, the apostles, understood clearly this truth of the resurrection; what it meant.  They preached about it on the Day of Pentecost in their sermons wherever they went.  Throughout the writings and the accounts here we find that it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ that was taught as a part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. It is never in any of these references in the New Testament in connection with an Easter service.  That is important for us to understand. Christ's death and His resurrection is clearly connected with the Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread as we see it in Scripture.

Let me innumerate and recap this from the previous studies we have talked about in this series and what I have covered here tonight.

First of all, Jesus was killed as our Passover.

1 Corinthians 5:7 "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:"

He fulfilled that.  He is our Passover, killed for us.

Secondly, He was buried, put into the tomb, just as the Days of Unleavened Bread began in that year which He died, that Sabbath, as it was beginning.

Third, three days and three nights later He was resurrected during this seven day festival, before the fourth day begins. We can say during that seven day festival He is resurrected.

Fourthly, He appeared to His disciples the morning after His resurrection.  It was on that day, which was the fourth day of Unleavened Bread, that He was accepted by His Father.

So, again, this squarely is put within the context of the Passover and, especially the Days of Unleavened Bread.  It is important that we understand that in terms of how it all transpired and what was taking place at that particular time as we look at the total package of understanding and knowledge that we gain from the Holy days and this entire Passover and Unleavened Bread season.

As I briefly pointed out all of this was clearly understood by the church.  In fact it was part of the apostles teaching that we have in the early days in terms of the life; the death; and the resurrection of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of those Old Testament Scriptures as we have seen.  Again, a thorough reading of just what Paul and Peter and the apostles preached as we see just in the Book of Acts.  We see very clearly that they emphasized that "front and center" as part of their preaching and taking the Gospel.  There is no mention of Easter, the Easter story and all of that. Traditions that later came about introduced a great deal of doctrinal error that do not square with God and the hard won truths that God planted in time and reality through the life of Christ and the events of this particular period of time in the year Christ was crucified. Easter doesn't even touch that. What Easter doesn't tell us is that to focus on Easter traditions is to miss out on the wonderful Passover and all we have covered in these previous steps as well as the death and the reconciliation made possible through Christ.  Easter only focuses in its traditions on the resurrection and does so with traditions borrowed and inherited from pagan myths and ideas which hide the truth that is embodied in the truths that the Passover and Unleavened Bread experience give to us. The Easter tradition gets it wrong in every angle that you might want to focus on. Sunrise service: wrong time. Wrong emphasis. He was already out of the tomb as we see from the Gospels. The traditions of eggs and bunnies, all of that, yes even chocolate bunnies, they obscure the true elements of the season. They have nothing to do with it. Easter is one day. God has given us a seven day festival to give a complete focus upon the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ in addition to the Passover service and its rich meaning as well. That whole Passover, Unleavened Bread period gives us a complete picture of every aspect of Christ's life, death, and sacrifice. Easter is barely one day in the picture and only focuses on a part of it but with wrong traditions.

Christ suffered and died as well. He was resurrected once for all time that men might have opportunity to enter into eternal life. That is why that Scripture back in Hebrews 9:11 is very important.

Hebrews 9:11 "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;"

V.12"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."

That's the beauty of His sacrifice. One sacrifice for all mankind past, present, and future, if you will. One sacrifice for all time. Easter obscures that truth because the Easter traditions are taken from ancient pagan myths that commemorate when you study it deeply, a never ending cycle of death and life; death and life. It's kind of a circle that just keeps on going and it means nothing. You look at all the myths that it's based upon of death and life; death and life. There is no forward movement. There is no progression toward any stated end and purpose of human life ultimately becoming a part of the family of God. Again, that is part of the tragedy of what the Easter traditions do. I don't want to focus any more on that but just to point out that they hide the truth. The early church and the Gospels and what we find about the teaching of Christ's life, death, and resurrection, really open up the fullness of the understanding of what God is doing in reconciling the world through Christ to Him and the opportunity for salvation and bringing many sons to glory. The richness of the festivals God gives us tells us this in great detail. What we have here at the beginning of the season with these Holy days is very, very important.

So, what do you need to know? Let me ask you that question. With what we have come to at this point, and with all that we have covered in all these steps to this point, what is it that we need to really know and to understand? Let me give you three points to focus on

First of all you need to know that Christ died according to the Scripture as our Passover Lamb. (Maybe I could put this on the board over here.) He died as our Passover according to the Scripture; according to the prophecies which foretold His death, His suffering, and His resurrection.

And we need to know the second point.

The Passover service that Christ instituted the night before He died fulfilled and fills this need for the Passover according to all the prophecies. That's important to understand as well, that Christ's New Testament Passover service – that He gave to us, and gives to us – with its changed symbols that we, again, have already covered, show us how that is fulfilled.

A third point that we should focus in on as well is that the Days of Unleavened Bread that follow on show us the life of the resurrected Jesus Christ and His power today; a power that can be in us based on faith and repentance and the acceptance of Christ's sacrifice and give us that power and that ability to put out and overcome sin. That period of time – the Days of Unleavened Bread – show us Christ's life in us. That is very critical as well; that's extremely important in this whole subject because, through that, we have the means and the ability then to live a life filled with hope and meaning, with the power of God through the Holy spirit in us. It is that spiritual power, God's spirit, that can fill the void that comes in our lives. A void that we finally recognize is there creating despair, hopelessness at times, when people sense that life doesn't have any meaning and purpose and the ability comes to really make some sense out of this crazy, mixed up, confusing world in which we live. It's God's spirit in us; it's Christ's life in us, that can help us to begin to understand that and have the means by which we can put off the things of this world and this life and to come out of the sin that does so easily beset us. This is wrapped up and bound in the meaning of the festival that Paul taught the Gentile world to observe and God teaches us to observe through the Scriptures. These three are critically important matters for us to understand.

Back in Exodus, Chapter 12:26, as God gave the original instructions regarding the Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, during that Exodus from Egypt; there is a statement that is made there I've always focused on at times as I was raising my children. I think it's good as we pass on the truth to our children because God anticipated that. Here in Exodus 12:26, in the midst of all these symbols of the Passover at this time, with the lamb killed; the blood on the doorpost; and all that was taking place, God says to the Israelites:

Exodus 12:26"And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?"

"Why do we kill this lamb that we've kind of raised along, dad? We've put up for a few days before killing it and now it's been kind of been a family pet. We take the blood and we put it on the doorpost and we have these bitter herbs and all that was part of the instruction here. Why do we do this?" It's a valid question today that comes. What's all this mean as we take unleavened bread? As we take a small portion of wine on the Passover service? And the unleavened bread during that service and then for seven days we eat unleavened bread during the festival. I always tell people we don't have a lot of ritual in the Church of God but a lot of it comes this time of year with the foot washing and the bread and the wine and de-leavening – putting leaven from our homes; eating unleavened bread for seven days. A lot of it is kind of concentrated right here. Not all of it. But the rituals that are few by comparison. They are rich. They are important. And they teach us a great deal. God says, you know; when you are asked, then you say, and He goes on to give that instruction.

Exodus 12:26"And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?"

V.27 "That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped."

V.28 "And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they."

V.29 "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle."

V.30 "And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead."

V.31 "And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said."

V.32"Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also."

V.33 "And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men."

V.34"And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders."

V.35"And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:"

V.36 "And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians."

V.37 "And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children."

V.38"And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle."

V.39"And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual."

Well that's kind of where we are as well, at times, as we explain it to our children. As we explain it year by year to ourselves. As we teach it to new converts that are being brought into the church and the new people come to the church today. This is something that they have to be taught. We need to teach them properly what it all does mean. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Passover, as we observe it, help us to realize the full meaning of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Paul told the Corinthians that we read back there in 1 Corinthians 5, to "keep the Feast", he said. He said, "don't do with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness…" He's speaking both physically and spiritually there. Old leaven, put that out. Malice and wickedness, that's spiritual leaven. That's what the physical leaven teaches us, that we also have spiritual issues that we need to put out and not keep the Feast with those. He tells us "keep the Feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." Again, that's a spiritual dimension that he brings into this.

So during the Feast of Unleavened Bread we focus on unleavened bread.  We don't focus on leavened bread during that period.  The leavened bread is to be put out.  Leavened bread represents sin and that has been put out prior to the start of the festival by sundown on that first night.  We do that according to God's command back in Exodus 32:15 and other scriptures in Exodus and Deuteronomy that teach that. We put it out.  We eat, for seven days, unleavened bread according to the clear instruction from the Scriptures. 

Exodus 32:15 "And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written."

V. 16 "And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables."

To go back to 1 Corinthians, Chapter 5, Paul tells us as we do this; he inserts a statement there that is rich in meaning to us. 

1 Corinthians 5:7 "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:"

That phrase, "you truly are unleavened" is a rich phrase for us because, not only does it mean that we are unleavened in that we have put leaven out of our homes by the time we come to the Days of Unleavened Bread but it means that we are spiritually un leavened because, as it says in the lateral part of the verse, "Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us." Now that's the only means by which we can be spiritually unleavened if you will.  Clean of sin through Christ, through His sacrifice. So it means that Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us.  Of course the night before we put out the final bits of leaven.  We've kept the Passover and then we prepare ourselves to keep, at sundown the next evening, on the first Day of Unleavened Bread, we are to have it all out.  We always remind people to do that and we enter into the seven day festival not only physically clean but, more importantly, we are spiritually unleavened through Christ's sacrifice; as our Passover.  And those symbols of the bread and the wine embody that – that we have taken during that very solemn, sacred service that commemorates His death and remembers His death according to what He told us to do.

When Paul says you are truly unleavened it also means that the blood of Jesus Christ His son cleanses us from all sin. I am quoting here from 1 John, Chapter 1:7. The blood of Christ, it says there, cleanses us from all sin.

1John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

Then in 1 John 2:2

1John 2:2 "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

That's what it means to be unleavened; that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin.  That's, again, the only way we can be unleavened before God and made just and in faith. It also means this, that we are justified by faith and that we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ,

Romans 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"

V.2 "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

We have a relationship with God that is based upon grace. We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand. That means we have a relationship; a standing with God that is based upon grace and peace that is made possible through Jesus Christ. That, too, adds on to a meaning of what it means to be unleavened in a relationship with God. If you look in Chapter 6 of Romans, actually scattered verses in Chapter 6 of Romans, from Verse 1 through Verse 14, Paul talks about the fact that we have died to sin and are alive to God through this relationship.

Romans 6:1 "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"

V.2 "God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"

V.3 "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?"

V.4 "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

V.5 "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"

V.6 "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."

V.7 "For he that is dead is freed from sin."

V.8 "Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:"

V.9"Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him."

V.10 "For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God."

V.11 "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

V.12 "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof."

V.13 "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

V.14 "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace."

V.15 "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid."

In Verse 9 of Romans 6, it means that we died with Christ and we also live with Him knowing that Christ having been raised from the dead dies no more. In this passage in Romans 6, Paul is talking about the resurrection of Christ and our baptism, how we are buried with Him in baptism. We are raised in His likeness through that resurrection, as we come up out of the water of the baptismal grave and all that symbolism there. We died with Christ in faith as we accepted His sacrifice. In Romans 6:11, Paul writes, that we "are dead to sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." That, too, is what it means when it says we are unleavened.

If you go over to Chapter 8 of Romans in Verse 1, Paul makes another statement that is easily understood in the context of what we've read in Chapter 6 and Chapter 5 as well as 1 Corinthians. In Romans 8:1, he says:

Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

No condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  When we sin we are not condemned and fallen from God's grace because of a sin that has caused us, to in a sense, fall all the way back down the ladder that we have to climb back up on. We have to acknowledge our sin and we must repent of our sin which is what 1 John, Chapter 1 tells us.  If we don't we're liars. But when we acknowledge our sin at any time and in any way, throughout the year; throughout our life; two days after the Passover service; a week before, whatever it might be, when we acknowledge our sin that is forgiven. Christ's blood covers that. We're not in a state of condemnation. We're not without God's grace. Repentance, once we've entered into that relationship through baptism and that critical moment where we receive God's gift of the Holy Spirit and are in that relationship with God. Paul is telling us here that we are unleavened spiritually through that relationship and there is no condemnation. With that, when we come down, then to Galatians, Chapter 2:20; one of the more poignant, beautiful passages, where Paul says this:

Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

As we live our live with God's spirit in us; with Christ in us, we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and, to paraphrase this, "gave Himself for us". And with Paul, we can say through that means, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ lives in us. You string all these Scriptures together and we have a beautiful understanding of how it is then, that Paul meant that we are unleavened because Christ, our Passover, has died for us and what, then is made available to us.

The vital truth is this, that a Christian should understand. You and I, as we eat unleavened bread during the seven day festival, we should understand something that is critically important in light of these Scriptures and also in light of what Christ tells us back in John, Chapter 6. Because as we are not about to enter the Days of Unleavened Bread, and for all of us listening to this – most of us listening to this – certainly all of us in this room here, in the office of the Church of God, the United Church of God in Cincinnati and many who are watching and many who are learning about this whole festival and this whole Holy day understanding that the Scriptures tell us. We know that we are coming up with in a few days, now to the Days of Unleavened Bread. We are busily preparing spiritually as well as physically for that. One of the things that I have already covered that we do, as we put the leaven out, we then eat unleavened bread for seven days. As we do that, a piece of matzo, a rye krisp, a piece of homemade bread, whatever it is that you will eat and make and eat during those days, as we do that, let's listen to what Christ tells in John, Chapter 6, that helps us to really focus in on what we are doing in this passage where Jesus went very, very deep into explaining to people, beginning in Verse 32, what is taking place. I'm going, for sake of time, go quickly through these. Beginning in John 6:32 as Jesus was explaining Himself He said:

John 6:32 "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven."

This was after one of the miracles of multiplying the loaves.

V.33"For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world."

And then, in Verse 35, as if that was not understood, He said:

V. 35 "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."

Again in Verse 48 "I am that bread of life."

Verse 50, "This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die."

And Verse 51, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eats of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Reference what Jesus did on the night before He was killed, where He took the bread and He broke it and He said, "take, eat, this is My body, given for you." We eat that bread on the Passover service to symbolize Christ's body. Exactly what He is saying here that it is His body, His life, given for the world.

Back in John 6, Verse 53, "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."

V.54"Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

And then in Verse 58"… he that eateth of this bread shall live forever."

His life in us as we ingest, if you will, of the Bread of Life in a spiritual sense.

What bread, I ask you then, does a Christian eat that fits what Christ is saying here? Is the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth that we eat on Passover and continue eating during the seven day festival of Unleavened Bread? Is that what we do? The unleavened bread then represents Christ's life within us as we eat that during the period of time. As we eat unleavened bread during the seven days, we're reminded that we don't live by bread alone, "Man does not live by bread alone…" as Jesus said on another occasion "… but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."

Matthew 4:4 "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

And that's what I think about as I eat that bread every day during the Days of Unleavened Bread. I think about the life of Christ in me. And I think about these Scriptures and I think of others and I think we all should as well. It teaches us that we need that perfect life of Christ within us to help us then to resist sin and to truly put spiritual sin from our lives and to overcome the envy and the malice and all of the other leavened, spiritual matters that crop up and pop up to our lives throughout every day of the year that we must resist and put from us. It's an ongoing, every day of the year responsibility that we have. The seven days of unleavened bread highlight that for us and we put that out during that festival period and we eat the unleavened bread to teach us a very, very important lesson. I can't overcome sin of and by myself. I need the help of God. Some sins we recognize we need a lot more help than we can even begin to muster up ourselves and that is what it is all about. The Word of God is Jesus Christ. We live by the Word of God. We live as Christ is in us as Paul said in Galatians 2:20, "The life I live I live by faith through Christ in me." It is that life, the resurrected Jesus Christ that then allows us the ongoing, eternal hope of salvation.

Back in Romans, Chapter 5, as we keep the Passover, we focus on the suffering and the death of Jesus Christ. Critically important as we have thoroughly examined. Then when we focus upon the resurrection, three days and three nights from that time that He was put into the grave, and all that that means; that we have just touched on here this evening. It tells us that our sins are forgiven by His death and by the sacrifice. But, as Romans 5:10 tells us:

Romans 5:10"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."

That made possible our reconciliation through Christ's broken body, His shed blood, we were reconciled to God through the death of His son, much more for having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Salvation and eternal life is then possible because Christ lives. He was resurrected and we, based upon faith, repentance, and the receipt of the Holy Spirit. Then we have the opportunity for His life to live within us and the hope of salvation. We are saved by His life. Death does not give life. Life gives life. And it is Christ's life that He was resurrected. We haven't even touched on the proofs of that critically important matter that are important for a Christian to study and to understand as well. But that is why it is at the center of our faith that He was resurrected because it is by His life that we have the hope of eternal life.

Christ lives. He is risen. The tomb was found to be empty. And He can live in us as we allow that through submission to, and yield to His will. We eat unleavened bread to symbolize that life within us and the ability it gives us then to overcome and to resist and to put off the old man and the sin that so easily besets us.

Hebrews 12:1"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,"

So we focus upon the resurrected life of Christ in each of us during this time of year. It is by that life that we have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin and to have a hope of a transformed life now and today which is why when we come to Philippians 3 and why this is so important. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, that, if Christ is not risen our faith is in vain.

1Corinthians 15:13 "But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:"

V.14"And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain."

I'd like to end tonight with what Paul wrote here in Philippians 3:8.

Philippians 3:8 "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,"

V.9 "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:"

V.10 "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;"

V.11 "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."

Because Christ lives we then have the hope of salvation through His life. And that is the importance, certainly, of the resurrection and a focus that should be in our minds during this season as we enter into the Days of Unleavened Bread after having kept the Passover.

So, it could be said, perhaps that the seventh step is to keep the Feast. If we've had six steps to get us to Passover then, perhaps the seventh step is for us to keep the Feast.

I hope that this entire series that we have taken all of you through in these months helps us to prepare our minds to take the Passover service here in a few nights from this point, for the baptized members of the Church of God to gather in a very solemn service. To take those symbols and to re-dedicate ourselves to God and then to prepare ourselves to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the right spirit; in the right mind; that God instructed us to keep through the Apostle Paul and others so that we may have that hope of eternal life as well.

We wish you a wonderful Holy day season. Thanks for coming out tonight and thanks for listening online and later on as you watch this, may God be with all of you and grant you a spiritually enriching Holy day season.

Good night everyone.